• 20 November 2023

  • Product news

New product launch: Culinary spice blends

Our history blending herbs and spices dates back forty years, to our early days as Hambleden Herbs.

In 1992, our founder, Mike, was blending award-winning Garam Masala as Hambleden Herbs launched its own range of culinary spices. From there, as the business grew into Organic Herb Trading, our passion for creating unique flavours and aromas using the delicious ingredients that we source from around the world hasn’t faltered. The most recent additions to our long-established range of spices include Mexican Powder Blend, Chinese 5 Spice Blend, Harissa Powder Blend and Ras El Hanout Coarse Powder Blend.

Read on to learn more about how we’ve crafted these blends, their history and our inspiration.


This earthy orange powder is a rich and vibrant combination of eleven herbs and spices; Cayenne, Paprika, Cumin, Onion, Cassia, Garlic, Oregano, Coriander, Salt, Black Peppercorns, and Lemon Peel.

Cayenne and paprika are both chillies, of the Capsicum genus. The use of chilli peppers can be dated back 6,000 years, and was noted by conquistadors to be a culinary and medicinal presence in Aztec and Mayan traditions in Mesoamerica. The word chilli is, in fact, derived from the Aztec language Nuhuatl word for the fiery fruit, ‘chil’. Middle-Eastern influences from Syrian migrants in the 19th century later brought the use of Asian spices, such as cumin and cassia, which became integrated into Mexican cuisine. Mexican spice blends, such as ours, capture this cross-continental fusion of flavours that have become intrinsic to Mexican food today.



Also new to our range of culinary herbs and spices is Chinese 5 Spice. As the name suggests, this blend has five ingredients: Cinnamon, Fennel, Black Peppercorns, Star Anise, and Clove.

Together, these spices bring all five fundamental flavours: bitter, sweet, salty, pungent, and sour, which relate to the five elements of fire, earth, water, metal, and earth, respectively. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this elemental combination was believed to create a perfectly-composed balance of taste on the tongue and nurture internal harmony. This warming herbal mix is also used in TCM to alleviate indigestion.

This extraordinarily versatile blend is used to elevate and complement a multitude of dishes from across China — use as a rub or marinate for meat, sprinkle on tofu, or spice up your stir-fry. Our Chinese 5 Spice exemplifies the essence of Chinese cuisine — aromatic, balanced, and vibrant, using high-quality organic herbs from around the globe, that we blend on our farm in Somerset.



These two spice blends are found across Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Both rich in Coriander and Paprika, Chilli, Cumin and Black Peppercorns, these warming aromatic spice mixes are quintessential components of North African cuisine.

Harissa is from the Arabic ‘harassa’, meaning to crush or pound. This combination of spices dates back to the migration of Andalusian Jews and Muslims to the Tunisian province to flee Spanish persecution in the 16th century. Bringing their chillis, pestles and mortars with them, harissa was born as a cultural collaboration of skills and ingredients in Nabeul on the southern coast of Cape Bon, and so remains the harissa capital of the world.

As well as the aforementioned spices found in both of our blends, our Harissa contains Caraway, Peppermint, Garlic and, unique to our Harissa, Baobab — adding its sweet lemony zing.

Enjoy with seafood, lamb and apricots, roasted courgettes and couscous, or on warm doughy bread.

Ras El Hanout means ‘top of the shop’ in Arabic — as it would typically be a changeable combination of the finest quality herbs and spices that the spice seller had to offer.

Tunisian and Moroccan blends tend to vary: the Tunisian variety is milder, a coarse woody powder beautifully flecked with rose petals, bringing sweet floral notes; Moroccan Ras El Hanout is pungent and, until it was prohibited in the 1990s, had been found to contain unusual aphrodisiacs — such as green metallic beetles, Spanish fly!

Our Ras El Hanout blend contains thirteen ingredients, including Cinnamon, Fennel, Ginger, Rose, Star Anise, Turmeric, and Clove, in addition to those it shares with Harissa — all sourced from sustainable organic suppliers from around the world. This blend may be used as a spice rub for chicken, in tagines or stews or mix with yoghurt to make a raita dip.

For more information, take a look at our Products & Price List. All of our spices and spice blends are available in quantities as small as 0.25 kg (subject to our minimum order value) right up to bulk volumes — contact us for a quote and lead times.